Taking a Breather

By Lydia Libby

As students we often find ourselves stressed out to our breaking points. But what if I told you that there are fun and productive ways to handle those stressors? Between juggling courses, jobs, and maybe even family life, it is hard to remember there are options for us to relax. It may seem with all of the hustle and bustle that relaxation is impossible. Despite all the chaos life can bring, relaxation is always achievable. Some simple relaxation methods include coloring and meditating.

While coloring may seem childish, it certainly has improved the mental well-
being of many adults. Adult coloring books were invented in 1970, and were a success in reducing stress in adults. The first subject matter of those 1970 coloring books was automobiles (which I find to be somewhat comical because I find that cars can often be the reason we are stressed). However, coloring helps to quiet the mind and hone in on the coloring utensil in front of you.

This act of focusing on the coloring of the object is similar to the effects of meditation, where your mind is quiet and the moment is the only thing that matters. Our days as students can be rather busy, so you may find that the coloring offers you a sense of mental release.

Mental release can be channeled in different ways. The ancient art of meditation helps the mind let go of the past and future to better focus on the current moment. Meditation was created in 1500 BCE by the Hindus. In 500 BCE, Buddha become an iconic figure of meditation. Buddha and the Hindus had the idea of meditation being a way to quiet the mind. Whether you reach a state of meditation by being in solitude or taking a guided class at a yoga studio, both can help you reduce stress. By not worrying about the past and future, your mind fixes itself on the present moment and the rhythm of your breathing. Meditation is an easy way to relieve stress, because you can practice it from anywhere. All meditating is about is concentrating on your breath and your immediate surroundings. It can even be practiced during classes. Just taking a few moments to concentrate on your breathing may make all the difference on how you feel about your current assignment or the test you may have to take. Stress can be the number one factor in why students perform poorly, and it is because they are so consumed in feeling the negativity that comes with the responsibilities of life. If our attention is being directed toward the negative, then our minds are not focused on what we are trying to accomplish: our degree. So by simply quieting the mind a bit, we can better handle our stressors, and perform better in their schoolwork.

At SMCC we strive to perform well because many of us want to continue our education elsewhere after our two-year programs. Stress may not be easy to handle, but it certainly can be easier to handle if we learn to quiet our minds. By taking a breather, we learn to relax ourselves and focus on what is right in front of us.  Stressors cannot continue to control us — or students everywhere else. Bettering ourselves should feel rewarding, not feel like we are breaking. Coloring and meditating may seem foolish, but maybe, just maybe, it could make the difference for you.


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